The holidays are here, and one of the best ways to celebrate in Austin is by visiting the city’s 57th Annual Trail of Lights. From November 27 through December 31, 2021, Zilker Park transforms into a drive-thru winter wonderland as it's lit up by more than 2 million lights, 90 lighted holiday trees and more than 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels. At this year's drive-thru event, guests can tune in via the car radio for holiday music, history highlights and more. Read on to find out how and when to visit the 2021 Austin Trail of Lights.

Cars driving through light tunnel at Austin Trail of Lights
Light Tunnel. Courtesy of The Southern Influence

Event Info

First opening in 1965 as the Yule Fest, the Trail of Lights has expanded and evolved throughout the years to become the well loved, community-wide celebration that it is today. More than 300,000 people enjoy the event each year, and visitors can take part in this Austin tradition by purchasing a ticket based on your preferred date and time. Some events to mark on your calendar are UT Night on December 12 and Stars Nights on December 28-29. Along with the beautiful lights and displays, make sure to tune in to 88.3 FM to hear the welcome video. Then change dial to 87.9 to listen to TOL Radio along the Trail.

All vehicle admission passes are valid for the designated event date and entry time. Estimated time on the actual Austin Trail of Lights is about 20 minutes; expect a wait for processing and staging in the vehicle queue upon arrival and prior to the actual Trail entry. Overall time estimate of the experience is 1 hour. Find more vehicle and entry information on the Trail of Lights website.

Check out the calendar and purchase your tickets today!

Child peering out of car window at Trail of Lights
Drive-Thru Experience. Courtesy of Austin Trail of Lights

What To Do Nearby

If you want to grab a bite before hitting the trail, Barton Springs Road has plenty of fantastic restaurants to choose from. Order a dinner to-go from the Carpenter Hotel, just down the road. If you’re looking for Tex-Mex, you’re in luck – the original Chuy’s (an Austin staple) is also located along Barton Springs Road and is available for pickup. Family can't settle on one place? The Picnic, Barton Spring Road’s largest food truck park, has a variety of options to please everyone.

This fun-filled fest has something for the whole family and truly completes the holiday season in Austin. Make sure to visit the trail before it's gone for the year!

Photo of woman in a black dress standing in an archway and smiling towards cameraContributed by Brooke Lewis.
Brooke Lewis is a copywriter and a recent graduate from Texas State University where she was a major in Advertising. As a new resident to Austin, she strives to find new food, music, and nightlife spots every weekend. You can find her work at or connect with her on LinkedIn at Brooke Lewis.